Small Plane Crashes in Ocean; 3 Saved by Oil Boat's Crew

Associated Press

A single-engine plane crashed into the sea 300 yards offshore Friday night but three Riverside residents aboard were saved by an oil platform work boat, authorities said.

The Piper Cherokee lost power at 9:30 p.m. and notified the tower at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, about 12 miles away. The plane came down about four miles from the airport, off Haskell Beach.

Jim Gifford, a flight instructor, and Leslie and Gina Kloppenburg were taken to Goleta Valley Community Hospital after being picked up from the water by the boat, said Charles Johnson of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. All three were treated for hypothermia and were in "very stable" condition, said a nursing supervisor.

Johnson, who spoke briefly with the survivors, said the flight originated in Riverside and was intended to be a certification flight. He said he did not know who was flying when it crashed.

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